2K’s release of the most recent Evolve gaming mode, Arena, started a chain reaction of gears turning between my ears. For a game that revolves around hunting and survival, the hunting aspect is kind of rudimentary and basic; so maybe a game mode that abandons the concept entirely could have been accompanied by something that plays true to the hunt. Arena mode abandons the hunter/prey dynamic, limiting the map to a small section within a mobile area. Players duke it out with one another until either the hunters fall or the monster is defeated.
So what would have worked as the antithesis to Arena Mode? Maybe a new monster. Not something hulking, loud, and bulbous like Behemoth, but a creature that is sly and can easily snake around the environment. Something that replaces explosive attacks with cunning and agility and brings a heavy focus back to the hunt – but this time turning the hunters into the prey.
So, not one to be satisfied with being dissatisfied, I took to my internal proverbial drawing board. In response to my current qualms with Evolve, I created Chameleon, a new monster concept brewed up during a marathon of SyFy monster movies.
Chameleon is Shears prime hunter. Though it looks weak and generally is compared to its counterparts, the creature’s ability to naturally camouflage itself provides it a massive advantage. Think of it as the Solid Snake of Evolve’s monster line-up, a creature that blends into the environment near seamlessly so it can strike unknowing passersby.
Plenty of Places to Hide
The beast will focus more on defense as its only real weapons are the long tail it slithers on and two muscular arms that are normally used to increase movement speed. As with the other four monsters, Chameleon’s four abilities are unique to its strongest points:
- Tail Whip (Increased Skill Level Inflicts More Damage and Quicker Recovery)
- Camouflage (Increased Skill Level Decreases Distortion)
- Decoy Call (Increased Skill Level Increases Area of Effectiveness)
- Lunge Grab (Increased Skill Level Increases Lunge Distance and Damage)
Tail Whip is Chameleon’s primary special attack, but is meant more for room clearing to knock hunters back and allow a chance for escape. Accompanying this is the creature’s primary attack, a series of swipes from its strong arms. With Camouflage, the monster gets its greatest advantage: the touch of a button will have Chameleon blend itself into the environment, detectable only by sound spikes, an over-curious Daisy, and a small bit of visual distortion the camo gives of.
While camouflaged, Chameleon can use its final two abilities effectively. Using Decoy Call will have Shear’s nearby wildlife come running. This is great for attracting prey for food or, should the hunters get too close, maybe calling over a lingering Megamouth or pack of Trapjaws. Lunge Grab will make the monster visible and vulnerable, but can help to quickly dwindle down the hunter’s numbers.
Lunge Grab will make the monster visible and vulnerable, but can help to quickly dwindle down the hunter’s numbers. The beast will get a burst of speed as it grabs a solitary hunter and separates them from the group. Similar to Wraith’s Abduction, though it allows the gamer to controller where Chameleon uses this speed burst to hide too.
Imagine Calling in This as a Distraction
Playing as this stealthy monster will need patience, but with that patience will come the greatest reward – a satisfying victory over a heavily armed quartet of hunters. Players that are used to moving quick won’t get the most out of Chameleon, especially if they leave a trail straight to their camouflage spot for the hunters to track. The change in pace that Chameleon would require could easily highlight some of Evolve’s stronger points that have taken a backseat to the frantic firefight, including the rich, dynamic environment.
It’s not that Evolve’s more frantic play is getting stale, but the game is in need of something that provides a greater deal of tension and truly hones in on “the hunt.” With the current roster of monsters, it’s impossible to miss when one is in the area thanks to the dynamic environment; but when faced with a true hunting machine, one that can disappear into the foliage despite its massive size, only a sharp eye and some truly useful tech (or panicked shooting a la Jesse Ventura in Predator) will reveal this sly beast.